Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Battle of Insterburg September 9th and 10th, 1914

Following the crushing defeat at Tannenburg, the Russians have commanded a counter attack against the resting Germans in the small town of Insterburg.  Under the cover of fog a Russian platoon headed by Lt. Vadim infiltrated the outskirts of town, some taking up positions behind a hedgerow and the rest forming up around one of the houses.  The resting Germans decided to slowly fall back instead of fighting it out against the Russians.  Lt. Dieter, slowly moved his squads back against the old ruin to the west.
The Russians pressed hard on the heels of the Germans causing them to fight it out more than they had wished.  One German squad under Corporal Knell, in what might be considered valiant in some circles, had his entire squad killed holding onto a house while being pressed by 2 Russian squads. Corporal Knell escaped into the fog before being captured.  The Russians stumbled and were unable to push the now defending Germans out of their houses and slit trenches behind the rock walls and hedges.  By the end of the day the Russians fell back to occupy some of the recently vacated houses by night fall.  Lt. Dieter sent furious notes back to Headquarters asking for relief as night fell.  During the night some sporadic gun fire rang through the night but no serious movement on either side happened.
Lt. Vadim rushed runners back to the Russian Battalion commander asking for reinforcements to help push the weakened Germans out of Insterburg.
During the night of Sept. 9th and the morning of the 10th, the German Battalion commander misunderstood Lt. Dieter's request to leave Insterburg as a request to hold the town.  In growing fog, 2 more German Squads arrived with a HMG in tow.  Flustered at the idea of holding the town, Lt. Dieter shifted his squads around and occupied the ruins at the west end of town.
To the East Lt. Vadim received word that he would receive a platoon at some point in the morning. Disheartened at the lack of initiative from the higher ups, he sent back 5 riflemen to acquire a HMG to help.  Lucky for him his riflemen found one.
As dawn broke the sun was blotted out by a thick pea soup like fog.  One German runner got lost trying to find the Lt..
Gaining the initiative quickly Lt. Vadim sent Corporal Igor and his 7 man squad into the soup.  They rushed the nearest house taking several casualities as the fighting became hand to hand.  They threw out the German occupiers and captured the German HMG.  German rifle fire from the stone wall behind the house inflicted several wounded soldiers but the Corporal and his men held tight.
The northern side of the battle up by the long hedge row witnessed two Russian Squads moving against the ruins.  They stumbled upon a German Squad holding a small house.  Those Germans were thrown out as well.  In all of the fog, no one was able to see anyone until they fired.  Squads blundered into each other as they held their fire not wanting to shoot their comrades.
Finally the Germans received some relief in the form of two more squads and they pushed into the center of town.  Lt. Dieter and his squad holding the ruins launched an audacious attack against the Russians who had stalled in the middle of the road.  The Lt. and his men were thrown back twice into the ruins.
While on the south side of town the Germans advanced aggressively and pushed into the house that Corporal Igor had taken and broke their morale as they ran into the fog done for the day.  Three German Squads pushed past this house and started to work their way around the advancing Russians caught in the street.
Just like the cavalry in an American Western, 3 Russian Squads forced marched into the battle and came in contact with a German squad holding a small junction in the road.  Losing severely, the German Squad fell back into the fog.
Time being the one constant no one can stop, the battle ended with no clear winner of Insterburg.  Germans  took heavy losses and may well fall back into the fold of the battalion to lick its wounds and pick up some much needed replacements.
The Russians have not made any advances as of yet and are trying to replace their losses as well.

These two battles are part of a four battle campaign I put together for my group.  We will fight the last battle in September.  This little campaign has been a lot of fun to run.